In the aftermath of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster (in which at least one crew member was reported by a purported
medical forensics expert [personal communique; Osborn] to have died possibly as a result of the impact with ground) and
the successful space-dive of Felix Baumgartner, discussion ensued among several SIGMA members as to the possibility of
developing techniques to ensure the survival of crew in the event of the catastrophic failure of an entry vehicle. Said
vehicle may be returning to Earth or landing on an Earth-like planet in or out of our own solar system. Such emergency
concepts must therefore be capable of adaptation to different atmospheric densities, etc.
SPEARED is a concept devised by myself, Dr. Arlan Andrews, and Tom Ligon which is intended to provide not only for crew
safety, but for crew safe return/landing. It is essentially the astronaut equivalent of a jet pilot's ejection seat, with a few
additional capabilities. The concept has been formally presented at the Second Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop (2013),
and was received with interest.
We have applied for, and received, a provisional patent from the U.S. Patent Office, and conducted preliminary materials
testing with considerable success. To this point, all testing has been done "on our own dime." This reserve of funding has
been exhausted. We are now in process of seeking funding to conduct additional materials testing, with an eye toward
selecting the specific components for the device; and computer modeling (and perhaps wind tunnel testing in the long
term) to determine which of two candidate shapes is most suitable.
|Analog, Dec 2014||Rattlesnake Ridge Research
summary (Tom Ligon)
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